Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Refugees in Australia - Q & A (xiii) - Why shouldn't Australia detain children seeking asylum?

Children are vulnerable - that's why international laws are designed to protect them.

Australia's ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) obliges it to maintain standards to protect children's rights and to provide them with humanitarian assistance.

Detaining children is strongly discouraged under the CRC. It provides that children should be detained only as a last resort, and then only for the shortest appropriate period of time. Any detention of children must be subject to periodic judicial review.

Australia's system of mandatory detention of undocumented asylum seekers is a serious breach of the CRC. Far from being used as a last resort, children are automatically detained - and for an indefinite period.

Children seeking asylum in Australia have no opportunity to challenge their deprivation of liberty in a fair hearing, nor are there periodic reviews of their detention as required by CRC.

Most Australian detention centres do not have the capacity to separate families from the general adult detainee group - a specification in international guidelines on refugees.

No comments: